- The Washington Times - Friday, February 24, 2006

Spain’s signature tournament got under way this week — in Mexico.In a break with tradition, the first half of the famed Linares SuperGM Tournament is being played in the central Mexican city of Morelia. The Category 20 event will then relocate to Linares, Spain, for the final four rounds.

The fighting spirit that marked great Linares tournaments of the past has survived the logistical innovations, with only one draw in each for the first two rounds in Morelia this week. FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov had a rocky start, losing to Russian GM Peter Svidler in the first round and nearly blowing the endgame against Armenian Levon Aronian two rounds later before salvaging a 123-move draw.

Hungary’s Peter Leko matched Svidler with two points in the first two rounds, including a strong performance against young Azerbaijan superstar Teimour Radjabov. In a heavily analyzed Sicilian Sveshnikov line, Leko as White turns back his opponent’s efforts to complicate the play, keeping a firm grip on the position.

With his king loosely defended and a number of weak points in his rear lines, Radjabov can’t prevent Leko’s precise attack from breaking through just before time control: 34. Ng4+ Kg7 35. Ra7 (Nxf6? Bxd5 36. Nxd5 Qxa1+) Re6 36. Qc4! (a move highly praised by former champ Garry Kasparov, monitoring the game on the ChessBase.com Web site) Qe1+ (Qxc4 37. bxc4 Kf8 38. Rb5 and the pins bedevil Black in lines such as 38…Re7 39. Ne3 Rd7 40. Nf5 Kg8 41. g4 Kf8 42. Rb6 d5 43. c5! Rc7 44. c6 Rxc6 45. Rbxb7 and wins) 37. Kg2 Re7 38. Rxb7! Rexb7 39. Rxd6.

The exchange sacrifice leaves Black’s king under withering attack, while Radjabov’s disconnected pieces can’t organize a defense. White already threatens 40. h6+ Kh8 41. Qd5 Rxb3 42. Rd8+ Rxd8 43. Qxd8 mate.

The conclusion is not long in coming: 39…Rf8 40. h6+ (strong, but immediately decisive was 40. Qd5! Re7 41. h6+ Kh8 42. Rd8 Ree8 [Rfe8 43. Qd7!] 43. Qb7 Rg8 44. Nf6 Rxd8 45. Qxh7 mate) Kh8 41. Qd5 Rbb8 42. Qd3 Qb4 43. Rd7 e4 44. Qd5 Rb5 45. Nf6!, when it’s hopeless after either 45…Rxf6 46. Rd8+ Rf8 47. Qd4+ Qxd4 (Kg8 48. Qg7 mate) 48. Rxf8 mate or 45…Rxd5 46. Rxh7 mate; Radjabov resigned.

• • •

The recent Aeroflot Open in Moscow offered a finish worthy of U.S. Olympian Lindsey Jacobellis, the snowboarder who unforgettably transformed a sure gold medal into silver when she fell just short of the finish line in Turin.

In the ninth and final round in Moscow, co-leaders Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine and Kiril Georgiev of Bulgaria both lost, allowing four players to slip by them. The Aeroflot’s Tanja Frieden (the Swiss snow boarder handed the gold when Jacobellis crashed) proved to be 22-year-old Georgian Baadur Jobava, who was declared the tournament winner on tiebreaks.

Jobava helped make his own luck with a nice last-round upset of Russian GM Vladimir Malakhov from the Black side of a Caro-Kann. In a sharp variation, White’s inability to castle proves costly, exploited by some nice tactics from the Georgian.

The Caro-Kann’s resilient defensive structure shines through after 18. Rd1 Nd5, when 19. Bxe6?! would be turned back by 19…Bxf4! (fxe6? 20. Qg6+ Kf8 21. Bxg5, or 19…Rh4 20. Bxd5 cxd5 21. Qa4+ Kf8 22. Rd4, with an advantage for Malalkov in both lines) 20. Bxd5 Bxh2 21. Bxc6+ bxc6 22. Qxc6+ Kf8 23. Rxd8+ Rxd8, and Black is on top.

Black sidesteps a dangerous-looking pin on his knight with a winning combination after 20. c4 Bxg3 21. fxg3 Qb6! 22. Re2? (see diagram; 22. cxd5? Qg1+ was an obvious lemon, but White can fight on after 22. Qd4 Qxd4 23. Rxd4 c5 24. Rdd2 Ne7) Nc3!, a move Malakhov may have overlooked.

With his queen and two rooks forked, White must take the knight, but that costs him his queen after 23. bxc3 Qg1+ 24. Kd2 0-0-0+ 25. Qd4 (Kc2 Qxd1+ 26. Kb2 Rd2+ 27. Rxd2 Qxd2+ 28. Qc2 Qe3 is no better for White) Rxd4+ 26. cxd4 Qxd4+. With a rook and minor piece as compensation, White has near material equality, but the versatile queen nearly always proves stronger in such open positions.

Malakhov grabs another pawn but cannot keep his queen-side from collapsing, leaving his opponent with connected passed pawns.

By 53. Rf7 (Rxg7 Qd4+) Qd4+ 54. Ke1 c5 55. Kf1 Qh4 56. Bf3 (Rxg7 Qf6+) Qg5 57. Kf2 (once again, 57. Rxg7 Qc1+ 58. Kg2 Qb2+ wins the rook) Qh6!, White’s pawns are completely stymied, while the Black queen covers both the pawn on g7 and the c1 queening square. White resigned.

23rd SuperGM Morelia/Linares Tournament, Morelia, Mexico, February 2006


1. e4c524. h5g5

2. Nf3Nc625. exf5Bxf5

3. d4cxd426. Ne3Bc8

4. Nxd4Nf627. Ra2Ne7

5. Nc3e528. 0-0Rf6

6. Ndb5d629. Qe2Qb6

7. Bg5a630. Rfa1Qc6

8. Na3b531. Rxa5Bb7

9. Nd5Be732. Bd5Nxd5

10. Bxf6Bxf633. Rxd5Qxc3

11. c30-034. Ng4+Kg7

12. Nc2Bg535. Ra7Re6

13. a4bxa436. Qc4Qe1+

14. Rxa4a537. Kg2Re7

15. Bc4Rb838. Rxb7Rexb7

16. b3Kh839. Rxd6Rf8

17. Nce3Be640. h6+Kh8

18. h4Bf441. Qd5Rbb8

19. Nf5g642. Qd3Qb4

20. Nfe3Kg743. Rd7e4

21. g3Bh644. Qd5Rb5

22. Ng4f545. Nf6Black

23. Nxh6Kxh6resigns

Aeroflot Open, Moscow, February 2006


1. e4c630. Bxe6+Rd7

2. d4d531. Rd2Qxe5

3. e5Bf532. Bxd7+Kc7

4. Nd2e633. Bg4Kb6

5. Nb3Nd734. Rd3a5

6. Nf3h535. Bd1Kc5

7. Be2Be736. h4Qe1

8. h3Nh637. h5Qf2+

9. Bf4Be438. Kc1Kb4

10. Nfd2Bxg239. g4Ka3

11. Rh2Be440. Bf3Qb2+

12. Nxe4dxe441. Kd1Kb4

13. Bxh5Nf542. Be2Qe5

14. Bg4Nb643. Kd2Qf4+

15. Qe2Nxd444. Kd1b6

16. Qxe4Nxb345. Ke1a4

17. axb3Bg546. bxa4Qxc4

18. Rd1Nd547. Rd7Qc3+

19. Bg3Bh448. Kd1Kxa4

20. c4Bxg349. g5Qa1+

21. fxg3Qb650. Kd2Qe5

22. Re2Nc351. g6b5

23. bxc3Qg1+52. Kd1Qf4

24. Kd20-0-0+53. Rf7Qd4+

25. Qd4Rxd4+54. Ke1c5

26. cxd4Qxd4+55. Kf1Qh4

27. Kc2Qc556. Bf3Qg5

28. Rf1Rf857. Kf2Qh6

29. Rxf7Rxf7White resigns

David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at [email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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